Maybe it’s not too late.
To run away.
Berg was genuinely troubled, feeling his cold sweat rising.
Should I just run out? If I do, will my chances of living increase?
“If you’re going to run away, you’d better fold it.”
Flinch. Berg looked at Rodrigo, who had a ghostly sense of humor.
“…to run away? You’re speculating too much.”
“Really? But didn’t you keep looking at the door? Is that my illusion?”
Damn it. When did I look at the door?
Berg tried to maintain a calm expression and lied nonchalantly.
“Ah, the door seems to have changed.”
“That’s strange. I’ve never changed the door.”
“……is that so. It’s just a little strange.”
Rodrigo smiled as he saw his brother shamelessly lying. If he teases him more here, he’ll probably run out of the mansion.
“To say that the mansion where you grew up has become unfamiliar. Isn’t this all because you acted like you were disowned?”
Rodrigo’s voice showed his disappointment. Berg muttered, looking away from his brother’s gaze.
“……I was just so busy; I couldn’t help it.”
“You’ve been busy? Come to think of it, we’re in the middle of Selcred. Isn’t this the busiest time?”
He was asking why he didn’t come when he was free and came when he was busy. Berg replied with a sigh.
“I just miss the mansion all of a sudden……?”
It was an uncertain answer. Rodrigo smirked at his brother’s lie. It was fun to see a younger brother who was clever in front of others but became nothing more than a wooden doll when he stood in front of him.
That’s why he’s precious.
Rodrigo observed Berg, who was rolling his head hard. There must be a reason why this person who seemed to have no plans in going back to the mansion suddenly came. Rodrigo did not believe Berg’s word that he suddenly missed the mansion.
There was nothing urgent.
I need to know what you’re thinking
The sharp corners of Rodrigo’s eyes curled gently.
“You must be tired from your long travels. Get some rest for now. Let’s eat dinner together later and have a conversation that we haven’t had before.”
“Well, then I’ll leave.”
Berg swung to the door at this moment. Just before his hand touched the doorknob, Rodrigo suddenly opened his mouth.
“Oh, since it’s been a while, let’s try to have a match.”
“I want to see how much you’ve improved.”
He remembered his terrible defeat to Rodrigo as a child. At that moment Berg’s face turned pale.
‘Wake up, Berg. If you give up like this, you will not be able to survive in a difficult world.’
‘Are you already tired? There’s still a long way to go.’
‘You can’t collapse at this point.’
‘Come on, my cute little brother. Go ahead and grab the sword again.’
‘Good. You lasted about 10 seconds longer than yesterday. But it’s still not enough.’
What a monstrous person he was. If they have Ivan Hamilton in the Huizeniac Empire, they have Rodrigo Chihen in the Kingdom of Sadin.
Of course, Grand Duke Hamilton would be a few steps ahead of Rodrigo, but Rodrigo was never second to the Grand Duke.
“Of course, I won’t refuse that.”
A wedge of water formed around Berg’s eyes. At the same time, he had a hunch. Hard things will haunt him during his stay in this mansion. Because of his brother.
While Berg was suffering, Adelia was finally able to face the ‘priest in black’.
The sound of the teacup moving sank on the silent table.
It’s already been an hour since this meaningless tea time began. Hestine kept moving her lips as if there was anything she wanted to say, but nothing came out of her lips.
Actually, Adelia was not very interested in Hestine. Adelia’s only concern is Hestine’s assistant priest, who stands quietly behind her.
He looks normal.
His name was Peloche. A child of God’s mercy. She wondered if there would be a better name for the priest.
But he’s hiding something under that normal face.
At that moment, Adelia and Peloche’s eyes met. Then a mysterious smile came up around Peloche’s mouth. Adelia also responded with a fresh smile. Hestine finally opened her mouth amid artificial smiles.
Adelia looked at Hestine.
As it was a public occasion, Adelia treated Hestine with courtesy. Hestine who misunderstood Adelia finally accepted her apology.
Hestine asked shyly, with her cheeks blushing like a peach blossom.
“Is the purification ritual worth doing? I’ve heard its pretty hard work…….”
Was that what you were just curious about?
Adelia gently raised the corners of her mouth, answering Hestine’s questions with considerable kindness.
“Thank you for your concern. The purification ceremony was better than I thought. Maybe it’s because they took care of me.”
“Well, I see…! Good for you!”
“I’m more worried about you than I am.”
Hestine tilted her head, as if she had no idea why.
“You must be so busy with the disaster and now you need to take care of Selcred too. The only good thing is that you finally have an assistant priest.”
Adelia glanced at Peloche standing behind Hestine. Without a doubt, he was staring at Adelia with a mysterious smile.
That smile. I hate it.
It was like someone who discovered something important. It’s like he has found the final piece of a puzzle.
“Oh! That’s right! My father finally assigned me an assistant priest.”
“As I said before, his name is Peloche.”
Sunburned skin, reddish brown hair and eyes. It was a typical feature of southern origin.
“You must be from the South.”
“Yes, that’s right. You recognized it at once.”
“But it’s unusual. Don’t southern countries usually serve Hellagram, the god of the sun?”
“That’s right, too. But I’m from the Kingdom of Zarvan.”
“If it’s Zarvan…….”
It was a familiar name. Adelia rummaged through her memory and recalled information about Zarvan.
Zarvan, said to be closest to the sun, where the heat stays throughout the year. Most southern countries were hot all year round, but Zarvan was special among them. It is said that Helagram’s blessing remains the clearest in Zarvan. Zarvan’s fruits filled with sun’s blessings were sweeter than in other regions.
But a tragedy came at an unexpected point in Zarvan.
Zarvan’s temperature has risen slightly every year. However, it was not a big concern because it was originally a hot area. One day 30 years ago, a record heat wave came to Zarvan. The ground became so hot that people could not stand, and the green trees turned into ashes under the hot sun. It didn’t take long for it to turn into a barren land where people couldn’t live.
Zarvan was destroyed less than a decade later.
All that remains on the site of a prosperous kingdom is a ruined city and dried-up life.
People said that Hellagram’s anger came down to Zarvan when they saw what happened.
“It was a terrible nightmare. I had to watch helplessly as my parents and brothers dried up to death.”
Peloche’s voice was imbued with deep resentment.
“That’s when Vishna reached me. I was almost on the verge of dying. For the first time in my life, I felt divine arrangement.”
“Oh, that must have been tough. Peloche.”
Hestine gave a pitiful look, covering her mouth with a slender hand. A bitter smile hung over Peloche’s mouth.
“Thank you, Saint.”
Hestine made a short prayer for Peloche with her hands together.
“Are you satisfied with your curiosity about me?”
Peloche looked at Adelia, not Hestine who was praying for him, and asked. It was as if he had even pierced through Adelia’s doubts.
This much was expected. Adelia smiled flexibly and nodded.
“It must have been an unpleasant memory, I’m afraid, I forced you to think about it.”
“No, that’s also Vishna’s will.”
An innocent appearance. He was truly a faithful follower of Vishna. Adelia realized that he wasn’t an easy person as he looked at Peloche.
“Adelia-nim. May I ask you to pray for the pilgrimage?”
A prayer to comfort those who left holding each other’s hands. That was the prayer of the pilgrimage.
It was not a sudden situation. It just so happened that there was a sad story about it.
“But wouldn’t it be better to ask the saint than me?”
“Then we can pray together. Is that all right, Saint?”
It was unavoidable.
Then, Ivan, who was quietly watching the situation, said,
“That prayer, I’ll do it too.”
He said so and sat down beside Adelia.
“The more people there are, the better the pilgrimage prayer is. Do you have any complaints?”
Thanks to Ivan’s involvement, Adelia was able to avoid direct contact with Peloche.
Peloche held Hestine and Ivan’s hand with a grim look. Soon, Peloche began to recite a prayer in a gentle voice.
So the tea time ended with a prayer.
I didn’t find out anything more than I thought. Except for the fact that the priest in black is so ordinary that it is rather strange.
I wonder if Berg had given me the wrong information.
Adelia couldn’t stop thinking about Peloche even on her way back to her accommodation.
Then she suddenly looked back at Ivan, who was following her footsteps silently.
“You were great just now.”
Ivan shrugged his shoulders at Adelia’s words and said, “Of course”.
“I didn’t want you to hold hands with a man whose identity is not known.”
Thank you for the coffee Tamara and Tommy <3